Blue Patch open UK’s first sustainable department store

Blue Patch is energising the high street for one week only, with the UK’s very first Sustainable Department Store. Visitors can buy directly from the finest sustainable brands, join workshops, parley in the project space, solve burning issues, be pampered, eat cake, share skills and make new friends – just  in time for Christmas.

It takes place between 11 – 16  December at Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG.

In true department store style there will be something for everyone. 40 Brands rarely seen on the high st, showcase high-quality products made with sustainable materials. Brighton based designers Baines & Fricker will be launching a new cocktail cabinet, there will be Tweeds by Cock & Bull, McNair ‘plasma dry’ shirts from Yorkshire, handmade organic beauty products and perfume, Risdon & Risdon’s work-aprons, Eco-Stardust’s plastic free glitter and shoes by Bethnal Green based social enterprise Juta, cook books from the Clink and a Christmas table display featuring Denby Pottery. The store will provide all you could wish for in terms of gifting and impart a warm and fuzzy feeling that purchases are  benefiting the local economy and environment too.

There is a daily menu of free events; Boost your Business offers group coaching, The Big Green Breakfast with Refill London, shares smart ways to stop single use plastics and award winning architects host ‘Comfort and Joy’ on  retrofitting and with 80% carbon reduction possible, this is essential listening. Creative workshops include designing wallpaper, upcycle a wallet (£30), jigsaw puzzles, stories and rolling your own wildflower seedballs. To ensure utmost calm there will be pamper nights with a relaxed social vibe and personal shoppers to make Christmas shopping a breeze. Coffee will be served all day Thursday by the students from the charity Hotel School, winners  of the 2018 Blue Patch Social Impact Award.

Blue Patch’s store has a mission to help tackle two issues, climate change and the economy. Firstly, carbon-saving ideas shared within a desirable setting could encourage even more people towards behaviour change, helping to amplify the good things already happening. Secondly, the social disconnect caused by online shopping, rising business costs and brexit is cascading through high streets and local businesses are under extreme pressure. Tackling these issues head on, Blue Patch’s aim is to share the costs of retail space with their collective of SMEs and get them directly to local shoppers, increasing their chance of a stable customer base and finding other retailers to work with.

Gift giving isn’t going away, but, increasingly, sourcing presents that are sustainable is as important as the gift itself. More and more shoppers are demanding stores and manufacturers that are conscious of how and where they make their products.

Shopping ethically in the UK has surged with a market value of £81.3bn (Ethical Consumer Markets report 2017). According to Ethical Consumer this is a growth of £40bn since 2008 and it’s the younger generation who are leading the trend. A YouGov survey demonstrated that almost a quarter 24% or respondents said they had bought products in 2017 specifically because of their ethical reputation. See the full report here. Blue Patch are offering a way for people to get together, trade and share ideas all in one place.

Blue Patch is a selective ethical marketplace for sustainable, local and heritage products from the British Isles and beyond including furniture, clothing, gifts, beauty and services such as ethical banks and sustainable printers. Launched in 2014 by Jane Langley, Blue Patch also provides a collaborative business network for SMEs and sole traders. As a social enterprise, every penny Blue Patch makes supports its business members, renewable energy, conservation and community programmes.

When: 11-16th December 2018

  • Tuesday 11th December: Store open: 10:30 – 18:00; Launch party and Blue Patch Awards: 18:00 – 21:00
  • Wednesday 12th, Thursday 13th, Friday 14th, Saturday 14th December: Breakfast events  9:00 – 10:30, store opening  10:30 – 21:00
  • Sunday 16th December 10:30 – 17:00

You’re more than welcome to join us for drinks and food at the launch party, but if not please drop by whenever throughout the week.

Where: Espacio Gallery, 159 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG

Blue Patch founder and CEO Jane Langley said:

Our members are some of the best designers and producers in the country. Because they won’t compromise quality and utilise every second of the day making, artisans and local manufacturers have little resources available to get to customers. Listening to the issues led us to develop our concept department store so the Blue Patch members can showcase their products and get to know each other. This is the first Blue Patch department store on the high street, I’d love to hear from anyone with a shop, we’re a flexible, creative organisation looking for spaces to fill.”

Justin Good at Good + Original:

Getting into retail is very difficult for small independents and with the demise of the traditional department store, a pop-up department store is the way forward. Offering customers something different with low overheads is just what’s needed, with Brexit looming and uncertainty ahead.”

Joanna Hamer, founder and director of social enterprise, Juta Shoes added:

We’re excited to be taking part in the Blue Patch Sustainable Department Store. As a small online business, it’s a great opportunity to meet our customers, show our products and tell our story directly to our community. Our shoes are handmade just around the corner from the store in Bethnal Green, supporting marginalised women into work, so it’s the perfect chance to connect our studio to the high street. We’ll also be running weekend reclaimed leather wallet making workshops.”

Emily Lambert, Co-founder of Seedball:

Seedball is so proud to be a member of the Blue Patch collective and a part of its incredible drive to shift people towards local, sustainable shopping habits – we can’t wait to join in the festive department store with our seeds for a bee-autiful Christmas that supports local wildlife too!’


Free daily activities include:

  • Boost your Business
  • The  Big Green Breakfast with Refill London
  • Comfort & Joy on retrofitting
  • Workshops including Design your own Wallpaper, Join the Jigsaw, Wildflower Seedballs and Upcycling Wallets
  • Global brands including an installation by Finnish menstrual cup company Lunette, the organic cotton bedding by Sleep Organic
  • The award-winning charity Hotel School, which teaches hospitality skills to homeless and vulnerable people, will be serving coffee and sharing a bit of Barista Know-How

Store opening times and events schedule here.

Images and Lookbooks: Dropbox

More about Blue Patch:

  • BP is the UK’s First POP-UP Sustainable Department Store in 2016 in a village hall in Dulwich, London. Find out more: Link.
  • It has 350 member businesses nationally.
  • The BP team is five women who work in a house in Herne Hill, London. We run The Blue Patch Sustainable Business Awards. This year’s presentation party will be held on 11th December – the winner of The People’s Prize 2018 is available under embargo.

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